Compared to people in other countries, American kids have more days out of school, while American parents have fewer days off work. In the old days the assumption was that Mom would always be home to take care of the kids on a snow day or a vacation week. For most of us, that's not an option now.
So instead parents are constantly scrambling to find coverage for their school-age kids.
I got on the bus at 6am this morning, and it was empty except for the driver and a seven-year-old girl sitting quietly on the seat behind him. Turned out that the bus driver lives in another school district near here where this is the winter break week. But it's not a vacation week for Mom or Dad, so the girl is spending the day riding around on her dad's bus.
That just seems ... depressing.